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Pakistan’s ace in poker match with US: Afghan air routes

AP Photo
The Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) — As bad as President Donald Trump describes U.S.-Pakistani ties today, they can get far worse.

Over 16 years that included hundreds of deadly U.S. drone strikes, Osama bin Laden’s killing on Pakistani soil and accusations Pakistan helps insurgents that kill Americans, the reluctant allies never reached one point of no return: Pakistan closing the air routes to Afghanistan.

It’s an action that would hurt the U.S.-backed military fight against the Taliban. It could also be tantamount to Pakistan going to war with the United States.

Even if such a step is seen as unlikely, Pakistan’s ability to shape the destiny of America’s longest war is a reminder of how much leverage the country maintains at a time Trump is suspending hundreds of millions of dollars in military assistance.

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